Summary of Is China Fudging its Figures?

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Is China Fudging its Figures? summary
Do Chinese data accurately capture the country’s economic situation?


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All eyes are on the Chinese economy because of its slowdown and concerns that its problems will extend to the rest of the world. To understand China’s economic situation, you need robust data. But how reliable is government-issued information, and is it a good gauge of the economy’s performance? Economists John Fernald, Eric Hsu and Mark M. Spiegel explore this topical subject, and while they don’t find clear evidence of manipulation, they note that even Chinese authorities don’t put much stock in official GDP reports. getAbstract recommends this illuminating study to economists, investors and China watchers for its insights on the real measures of economic activity in China.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Whether Chinese government data on its economy is accurate
  • What research using an external, independent measure reveals
  • Which indicators surpass GDP in accurately assessing the Chinese economy


One way of taking stock of the Chinese economy’s health is by analyzing government-issued GDP figures. Yet the fast pace of China’s growth and changes in its economy have raised concerns that Chinese authorities might not be reporting economic data accurately. In addition, local governments may be altering...
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About the Authors

John Fernald and Mark M. Spiegel are economists with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Eric Hsu is a PhD candidate in economics at the University of California at Berkeley.

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